Pune is one of the cultural hubs of India. When I visited it two months back I was very keen to join the ‘Pune Heritage Walk’. So I promptly booked myself through email and followed it up with a phone call. Unfortunately one day before the ‘Walk’, I was informed by the organisers that the walk for that Sunday morning stood cancelled as I was the only participant.
Feeling sad but not disheartened, I found out the alternative- ‘Pune Darshan’, a day long bus tour. And there I was at 7.30 am in that bus. However it turned out to be a rather poor alternative.
But I am not going to talk today about the usual touristic spots of Pune- but about things which I found unusual.
There was a big board advising people in Marathi that intoxication was a sure way of inviting death.*
It was ironic to find, just within 200 yards of that Board, a man lying on the road, totally drunk, or as Pink Floyd would term it ‘comfortably numb’. …
Having never seen/heard such an expression I asked the tea stall man what was the meaning of ‘Tea-cutting’. About half a cup, he explained by gesticulation.
The coconut water was refreshing.
The bus stopped near this restaurant for lunch and our Guide recommended this restaurant.
I ordered a ‘Pav-bhaji’. However the waiter brought a glass of this colourful brew. I didn’t order this, I protested. It is free, he said with a little wink. What is it called, I asked him. ‘Sai Saras Special’ he added jokingly. I did take a sip but didn’t quite like it.
The ‘Pav-bhaji’ was good and spicy & I happily polished it off.
Seeing the above board I wondered the way we Indians have taken up to the mobile phone. I am sure the concept of giving a ‘missed call’ is an Indian invention.
The Pune Darshan tour also involved a visit to the Pune Zoo. I found it to be the most pathetic zoo that I have seen. Of course what made me smile was an enclosure for ‘fleas’.
*Ms Padma Ganesh has set me right. She explains that the “The big board in Marathi actually advises people to control speed else it may invite death.”….My apologies to readers and thank you Padma for correcting me…
Photos, text and copyright: K.J.S.Chatrath
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